Alesha Clarke

€1.3 million for towns and villages in rural Cork

“Cork has today been allocated €1,347,826 under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 15 projects in Cork County.

“This scheme, launched in April this year, is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, and focuses on funding projects that can help rejuvenate and revitalise rural Ireland.

“Here in Cork we have placed a particular emphasis on projects which have the capacity to support the economic development of rural town and villages as well as their neighbouring townlands. The scheme will also support improvements to public amenities in our town and village centres, to help make them more attractive places in which to live and work and to visit.

“Cork has received substantial funding under this year’s scheme, which will have a significant impact on towns and villages across the county. West Cork in particular has been allocated generous funding, with the following projects being allocated a total of €769,426.

  • Allin Institue Renovations, Bandon: €32,000
  • Develop and brand Bantry Market, Bantry: €76,800
  • Carpark and street enhancements, Castletownbere: €100,000
  • Cycleway and pedestrian access route, Clonakilty: €100,000
  • Plaza, public lighting, and footpath, Drinagh: €80,000
  • Life-size bronze commemorating Maureen O’Hara: €48,000
  • Renovate local museum, Kinsale: €80,000
  • New pontoon facilities – commercial and leisure vehicles, Schull: € 100,000
  • Ludgate Hub Innovation cluster, Skibbereen: €152,626

“I want to thank the Cork County Council for their efforts and co-operation in engaging with local and business communities to identify these projects. Most of the funding will benefit towns and villages, with populations of less than 5,000 people.”



The Town and Village Renewal scheme is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential, and is part of a suite of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland. It is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and is administered by the Local Authorities.

The delivery of an enhanced Town and Village Scheme was a commitment in the Programme for A Partnership Government and the Action Plan for Rural Development. Under the 2017 scheme, up to 80% of the total cost for each approved project will be provided by the Department, with the remaining 20% being provided either through community contribution and/or the Local Authority.

Under the 2017 scheme a wide variety of projects have been approved.  These projects have been identified by local community groups and businesses, in conjunction with their Local Authorities.  Projects approved range from employment initiatives to tourism amenities, and other measures aimed to help make small towns and villages a more attractive and more sustainable places in which to live and work.

A full list of recipients is available on

04 October 2017

Farms are a workplace, not a playground

Senator Tim Lombard from Cork has said that farms should be treated as a workplace, not as playgrounds.

As a member of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee member Senator Lombard has urged all farmers to use the opportunities provided during Farm Safety Week 2017 to improve awareness and safety on their farms.

“We do not allow people to run amok on construction sites because it is too dangerous, and the same must apply for farms; they are a workplace with many potential hazards and should not be treated as a playground.

“It is careless and foolish to allow farms to be treated as such and farmers and visitors alike must take responsibility for personal safety when on a farm.

“Farming has the poorest safety record of any occupation in Ireland. 21 people unfortunately lost their lives in farm accidents during 2016, and increase of 3 from 2015. This increase is especially distressing given that workplace fatalities fell by 21% across all sectors in 2016.

“These bleak statistics don’t even paint the full picture of the devastation a farm accident or fatality has for families, communities and businesses.

“To reduce these accidents there needs to be a greater focus on personnel safety in the farming sector; we must increase awareness of the dangers that exist and take time to minimise those risks, only then will we improve the safety of people working on or even visiting a farm.

“The annual Farm Safety Week is a great program which aims to reduce the number of farming accidents and fatalities through a number of initiatives. Many farm safety events are being held this week and I encourage farmers to take the time to participate in these educational opportunities.

“I would also encourage farmers to use this week as an opportunity to perform risk assessment of their farming operations and avail of the discounts available on safety equipment from retailers nationwide.

“Safety must be a fundamental component of the farming ethos. Even though there are many risks involved within the sector farming does not have to be a dangerous occupation, many accidents that occur are sadly preventable.

“This week isn’t just about raising safety awareness of people working on farms either. Anyone visiting a farm also needs to be made aware of the dangers associated with working farms.

“Farming is a huge part of our lifestyles and communities here in Cork. It is critical that we all take part in educating ourselves about the dangers posed by farming activity and thus improve the safety of our farming sector.”

More information on Farm Safety Week UK & Ireland can be found online at or follow @IFAmedia or #FarmSafetyWeek on Twitter.

25 July 2017

Include West Cork’s hidden gems on Wild Atlantic route

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has been in Union Hall and Courtmacsherry discussing with local community members and public representatives the proposal to have these charming coastal towns, and the drive between them, included in the Wild Atlantic Way.

“Tuesday started with a scenic drive to Union Hall to meet with locals who have been campaigning to have their town included in the Wild Atlantic Way. Driving into the town you can see why; the landscape is beautiful and the place is so unique. Union Hall has a lot to offer visitors, from beaches and woodland walks, to kayaking and world renowned angling, to restaurants and art galleries.

The picturesque Union Hall, Ireland’s angling hot spot

“The day continued with another lovely drive, this time into Courtmacsherry where again you can see why locals are calling for a review of the Wild Atlantic Way. This seaside village has a phenomenal view across the bay and boasts an active community that hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. It offers a lot of history and is also the gate to another West Cork attraction; the Seven Heads Peninsula.

“At both towns the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, attended meetings with local community members and public representatives where we discussed the value of rerouting the Wild Atlantic Way to include these towns and all these things they have to offer.

The seaside village of Courtmacsherry

“Members of both of these communities feel strongly in the value of their locale. The preview early this week demonstrated that an alteration of the Wild Atlantic route to include hidden gems like these towns would really showcase all that West Cork has to offer. Not only would this contribute greatly to Ireland’s touristic appeal but also to our local economies and communities here in the heart of West Cork.

“Minister Griffin expressed his intention to review the Wild Atlantic Way, which hopefully proves positive for the proposals of these villages.

“Over the next few months we must engage with the local authority to ensure that road infrastructure is assessed and, if necessary, redeveloped, to ensure it could accommodate the increased volumes of traffic associated with tourist numbers.”

27 July 2017

Huge Public response to the Affordable Childcare Campaign

Parents have been encouraged to inform themselves about childcare supports that will help them financially, and figures indicate a positive public response. Over 173,000 page visits were recorded last month to an information website – – which details the childcare supports available from September this year.

“I strongly encourage all parents in Cork who have not yet done so to log on to the website and get informed. While the figures show a fantastic response to the nationwide campaign, nearly two thirds of the people visiting the site come from the Dublin area.

Senator Lombard at the launch

“The total spending on child care programmes this year is €466m, a 79% increase on figures in 2015, and I want to ensure that all eligible families here in Cork will benefit from such expenditure.

“At the start of the pre-school year up to 70,000 children nationwide will have extra supports, as negotiated in this year’s budget, with some children receiving childcare benefits up to €7,500.

“We are enhancing existing targeted childcare supports by as much as 50% and there will be improved access to subsidies for providers, with the traditional Community Childcare Scheme (CCS) being extended to both community and private providers.

“Families will benefit in two ways. Firstly, the changes will see a universal benefit for every child under 3-years old. Universal subsidies, of up to €1,040 per annum, which will be available for all children aged between 6 and 36 months in full time childcare.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.

“This is the first big step but there is still much work to be done in this area. I am assured that the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, is focused on the quality and accessibility of childcare here in Ireland, but also recognition for the workers who provide these services.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents. We introduced the free pre-school year, subsequently extending it to a second year, and it is estimated that the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave, so for the first time Irish Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.

“I will continue working to ensure that parents across Cork can avail of high quality and affordable care for their children when they need it. An important step is knowing what childcare supports are available, so again I urge Cork parent to log on to the affordable childcare website and see what financial support is being offered.”

11 July 2017